Bongs have become the primary smoking device for most cannabis enthusiasts (seasoned and new smokers) worldwide for many years due to their unique design and functionality. Smoking bongs are a device that helps filter and cool the smoke through water to deliver a smoother and more enjoyable smoking time. Once the smoke passes through the water, filtration produces a smoke that is cool, less harsh, and free of impurities. 

Most bongs consist of a water chamber, a bowl to hold the smoking material, a down stem that connects the bowl and water, and a mouthpiece for inhaling the smoke. Smoking bongs come in different shapes, materials, and sizes, but they all have one thing in common, a large chamber to hold water. Glass bongs are the king of water bongs because they are the most common type among smokers.

When shopping for a bong, most smokers go for glass bongs because they are easier to clean and maintain, are aesthetically pleasing, versatile, and durable, and produce a cleaner smoking experience. Smoking bongs function at their best when appropriately maintained, and one essential maintenance is changing the water regularly. This article will focus on the importance of changing water in bongs and everything in between. 

Why Does Bong Water Become Dirty?

When you regularly clean and change the bong water, you can experience a more enjoyable and hygienic experience with bongs. This is crucial for securing a cleaner and safer smoking experience, maintaining its performance, and preserving the taste. But, the water in your smoking bong may become dirty for several reasons. Here are a few reasons why bong water can become dirty:

  • Mouthpiece Contamination: During a smoking session, saliva and other residues from your mouth or other fellow smokers can be trapped in the bong, eventually mixing with the water. This can introduce impurities, which contribute to the overall dirtiness of the water.

  • Combustion Residue and Byproducts: When you smoke herbs or tobacco with a glass bong, combustion occurs. The combustion process releases various byproducts, such as tar, ash, and other compounds that can dissolve in the water. These byproducts can settle at the bottom of the water chamber while smoking, leading to discoloration.

  • Filtration of Smoke: Smoking bongs use a water filtration system that helps cool and filter the smoke before it reaches your lungs. As the smoke passes through the water, there is a transfer of substances and particles. Although this filtration process helps remove byproducts, impurities, and residues, it also accumulates residue in the water.

  • Microorganism Growth: When bong water is left unchanged for a long time, it can become a growth medium for various microorganisms, especially bacteria, and fungi. They thrive in warm and moist environments, and water bongs provide an ideal medium for their growth. The presence of bacteria or fungi can add to the discoloration and contamination of the water.

Can A Dirty Bong Make You Sick?

Clean bong water can make all the difference in getting the most pleasurable cannabis smoking experience. Drinking or inhaling dirty and contaminated water from your bong can make you sick. You may be at risk of developing an infection or gastrointestinal-related symptoms. The health implications of a dirty bong vary depending on the contaminants in the water. 

Bacteria and fungi can lead to infections with symptoms such as nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, allergic reactions, lung infections, chest pain, and fatigue. More severe conditions may occur if your immune system is compromised. If you have inhaled from a dirty bong and experienced any alarming symptoms, you should seek medical help immediately. 

How Frequently Should You Change Your Bong Water?

How frequently you change your bong water or clean your bong depends on how often you use it. But to maintain the functionality and cleanliness of your bong, we recommend changing the water after each smoking session or before each use. This can prevent the buildup of residue, growth of microorganisms, and other contaminants that can affect the taste and quality of your smoke.

Freshwater leads to better filtration and cooling of the smoke. In addition, cleaning your bong regularly by disassembling its different parts while following the manufacturer’s instructions and using appropriate cleaning solutions or tools designed for bongs can help you effectively remove any buildup of resin, tar, or other debris. 

Steps to Change the Bong Water Effectively

To effectively change the water in your smoking bong, you can follow the following step-by-step instructions:

  • Carefully pour the old water in your bong into a container to dispose of outside — not on your plants (bacteria and mold can harm them). It's also not ideal to pour it down your sink if you can avoid it.

  • Clean each part of the bong to get rid of any residue. An alcohol-soaked cotton swab can be used.

  • Refill the bong with fresh water, ensuring that the water level is enough for the size and shape of the bong. The water shouldn’t be too much to avoid any spillage during use.

  • Add desired substances to the water, such as ice cubes, cleaning solutions, or other cooling agents. 

Tips for Maintaining a Clean Bong

Here are some helpful tips to achieve and maintain a clean and functional bong:

  • Change the water regularly after each use or before use, if possible, and clean the bong frequently. 

  • Use distilled water, if accessible, to reduce the accumulation of minerals, residue, byproducts, and impurities.

  • Ensure you clean the inside of the bong regularly with pipe cleaners or brushes. If your bong has detachable parts, wash each part separately. This makes all aspects clean and free from residue.

  • Store the bong in a cool, safe, and dry place when not in use to reduce the growth of microbes. You can also cover it with a case or bag to avoid dust or accidental damage.

  • Only use clean water or water solely made for bongs. Avoid using fruit juices, alcoholic beverages, or other liquids that can affect the taste of your smoke or leave a residue. 


Consistently cleaning your bong and changing its water is vital for durability and functionality. Dirty water can affect the filtration system, hence a harsher and less enjoyable smoking experience. Also, it is essential to know that neglecting to change the water in your glass bong can also lead to the buildup of bacteria or fungi, residues, and byproducts, which can harm your health. The accumulation of residue can create unpleasant odors, which may affect the taste and quality of the smoke.

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